Sounds of Extinction

The term creative destruction was coined by Joseph Alois Schumpeter as an essential dynamic property of capitalism. In short, it constantly creates new products and processes that make existing products and processes obsolete, they vanish.

This dynamic process of the new replacing the old changes our environment dramatically, of course depending on where we are. It affects what we see – have you recently seen a donkey cart? It affects what we smell – have you recently smelled exhaust fumes of a two stroke engine out in the streets? And it affects what we hear – have you heard the beeping sound of a modem recently?

Let us call label sounds that vanish due to technological progress as sounds of extinction.

A great example of sounds of extinction is the sound of a mechanical shutter of a camera. Here you find the shutter sound of 18 cameras recorded by photographer Sails Chong.

Really lovely, especially the old Polaroid X70 and the good old Rolleiflex 3003.

It is probably an intricate design question whether a photo app on a smartphone really needs to have a shutter sound that pretends that something mechanical is inside the camera. Do you really need to convey a message through a sound that suggests something that is not there? This reminds me of the discussion about whether or not the early iPad really needed a bookshelf app designed like a wooden bookshelf.